When the Brisbane Lions run out against Richmond on Saturday night, it will be almost 10 years to the day since it last appeared in a final.
While Lions fans will better remember the stirring come-from-behind victory over Carlton at the Gabba, the last slice of September action came with a 51-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on September 11, 2009.
The ensuing decade has been at times torturous, often deflating and finally rewarding.
Here's a snapshot of 10 stories in 10 years that defined Brisbane's climb back to the finals.
1. Fev's pool party at Wet 'n' Wild
In the 2009 Trade Period, the Lions splashed out on some experienced recruits, headlined by Carlton wild child Brendan Fevola. Instead of holding his 'welcome to Brisbane' press conference at the Gabba, the two-time Coleman medallist was having so much fun at Gold Coast theme park Wet 'n' Wild, he decided to re-arrange proceedings and speak to the media there and then in his boardshorts. After a tumultuous 12 months, Fevola was sacked.
2. Recruiting 'The Magician'
This was a gift from Gold Coast that Brisbane will always be thankful for. After being overlooked in four successive drafts, Dayne Zorko's chances of an AFL career looked slim, until the Suns recruited the dynamic midfielder as a Queensland priority selection in 2011. However, Gold Coast quickly on-traded the local product to the Lions in a three-way trade that netted them reliable Melbourne defender Matthew Warnock. Zorko is now Brisbane's captain, has been named an All Australian and won four Merrett Murray medals.
3. Jonathan Brown or Chuck Norris?
Horrific head injuries littered Jonathan Brown's career – and eventually forced his retirement in 2014 – but the headline "Brown hit by car" really sent shudders through every football fan in October, 2012. The Lions' ironman was out on an off-season bike ride with a few mates when a car came through a roundabout and ploughed into him. Brown escaped with a few cuts and bruises, while the Hyundai was taken away by a tow truck, shattered windscreen and all.
4. Silverware (of the NAB Cup variety)
It would prove to be a false dawn, but the 2013 pre-season belonged to Brisbane. It won matches against Hawthorn, Gold Coast, GWS and Collingwood before hammering Carlton by 40 points in the Grand Final with a daring run-and-gun style of play that had the club's fans excited. That optimism lasted less than one quarter into the premiership season as the Western Bulldogs smacked the Lions in the opening round to start a slow downward spiral.
5. The 'Miracle on Grass'
One of the most improbable wins of the decade, and perhaps all-time. Battling Brisbane trailed powerhouse Geelong by 52 points late in the third term of what looked another fizzer at the Gabba. But Brent Moloney and Daniel Rich got rolling in the last quarter and with a passage of play that swept the ball from full-back to the forward line in the dying seconds, 200-gamer Ash McGrath took a mark and kicked truly from 55m after the siren to steal victory.
6. Vossy and the Go Home Five
It sounds like the name of a boy band, but this two-month series of events from August 2013 brought the club to its knees. After sacking favourite son Michael Voss, the Lions bungled an attempt to lure Paul Roos, botched a move to relocate its training base to Springfield and endured a boardroom split that cost chairman Angus Johnson his position. As Voss went out, Justin Leppitsch came in, but his tenure started with first-round draft picks Jared Polec (pictured below), Sam Docherty, Elliot Yeo, Billy Longer and Patrick Karnezis – the 'Go Home Five' - all deciding they wanted out to return to their respective home states.
7. Justin Clarke's early retirement
One of the more heartbreaking stories of the decade came in early 2016 from 22-year-old Justin Clarke. After transforming himself from the rookie list into a reliable defender, the South Australian copped a head knock at training in January that year, and after losing some of his memory and barely being able to exercise, he saw three independent specialists – who all advised him to retire. Clarke did just that, bringing an all-to-premature end to his 56-game career. His farewell press conference was as emotional as it was gut-wrenching.
9. Welcome Chris Fagan and David Noble
The appointment of Chris Fagan as coach and David Noble as football manager truly was the beginning of the club's rise to national relevance. The path from there is well documented but reuniting the Tasmanian duo that coached against each other during the 1990s has proved a masterstroke.
10. The new Lions arrive
It took more than 18 months for Fagan's influence to really have an on-field impact, but on a chilly July afternoon in Launceston last season, Brisbane announced it had arrived. Against Fagan's former employer, Hawthorn, the Lions ran roughshod over Alastair Clarkson's finals-bound team, running away with a 33-point victory at a venue the Hawks rarely lost at. The sight of No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner streaming into goal and kicking truly from 45m encapsulated the rise beautifully.
And one more because we couldn't condense the timeline to just 10 stories.
11. McCarthy's mark
When Brisbane dominated the AFL in the early 2000s, it's home ground became known as the Gabbattoir, so imposing a venue was it to play at. With a finals spot locked up, the Lions hosted Geelong in round 22 with a top-four position up for grabs - and in front of its first crowd to exceed 35,000 this decade, Brisbane got the job done. The Cats held a handy cushion for most of the day, but a towering Lincoln McCarthy mark and goal with less than two minutes remaining shook the stadium and ultimately gave the Lions two home finals.